THE Zimbabwe national cricket team will be hoping to wrap up the five-match one-day international (ODI) series with a match to spare when they take on visiting Afghanistan at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo today.
BY SPORTS REPORTER
Zimbabwe took a 2-1 lead in the series after a six-wicket victory in the third ODI on Tuesday and wicketkeeper/batsman Richmond Mutumbami said he was hoping for a repeat performance by his teammates.
Mutumbami produced a man-of-the-match performance as Zimbabwe earned a 2-1 series win following Tuesday’s victory.
After being dropped twice, he hit 74 at the top of the order for Zimbabwe, who chased down the 224-run target with two balls to spare.
“I’m sure more such performances are on their way,” Mutumbami said after the match. “We had to bounce back and today the guys showed good character and I thought we played good cricket. The guys were calm out there and they executed their skills better than the last game, so hopefully we can do the same thing on Thursday. There are
one or two things that we can improve on as well because like in any game there’s always one or two mistakes that you do,” he said.
Zimbabwe Cricket selectors are expected to keep faith in the team that did duty in the last match with the duo of Mutumbami and Chamu Chibhabha expected to continue at the top of the order.
Left-handed batsman Craig Ervine is expected to come in at number three with the quartet of fit-again Sean Williams, skipper Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza Butt and young Tinotenda Mutombodzi forming the backbone of Zimbabwe’s middle order.
In the bowling department, seamers Luke Jongwe and Tinashe Panyangara have looked solid upfront while the spin duo of Tendai Chisoro and Wellington Masakadza seems to be growing in stature with each game.
Afghanistan will look to Mohammad Nabi and Noor Ali Zadran again for runs, with the hope that their explosive opener Mohammad Shahzad will come right this time.
Their bowling is not overly penetrative as they rely more on strangling the opposition, and they can only do that with runs on the board as they did in the second ODI.
The pitches have been good to bat on and the weather has been perfect for cricket. The Bulawayo crowds have added to the atmosphere with song and dance in the stands, and Zimbabwe will have the stage set for what many hope will be a historic back-to-back series win.
Zimbabwe (probable) – Elton Chigumbura (C), Richmond Mutumbami, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Sikandar Raza, Luke Jongwe, Tendai Chisoro, Wellington Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara